A profound shift in the way human beings communicate and coordinate work is underway and this shift has enormous implications for leaders in organizations. The value proposition for Industrial Age organizations was focused on making people, machines, and product lines more efficient. In The Information Age (aka The Knowledge Age), value creation centered on how humans store, access, manipulate and transfer knowledge and ideas. We are just now entering The Collaboration Age, which is more about how networks – both human and electronic – create value by sharing and integrating and co-creating knowledge and ideas. Traditional information technology powered the Information Age and collaborative technology (including social media) is the engine for The Age of Collaboration.
One of the key leadership competencies of a networked Collaboration Age is the ability to build and profit from highly effective relationships. And in order to create good relationships, leaders must develop and model high degrees of self-knowledge, be authentic in their behavior, and have good instincts for engaging diverse groups of people in the work of the organization. In these times, the networked organization is distributing power in the organization in new ways and leaders are learning – more than ever before – that true power lies in the ability to 1) Be real and 2) be open the collective wisdom of an organization in order to both formulate and execute strategies.